One of the best pieces of business advice I ever received was when a mentor of mine told me the following…
“The two most important relationships in an entrepreneur’s life is their lawyer and their accountant.”
At first glance this may seem like the punch line to some sort of joke, but if you think about it, there may not be anyone on the planet that knows more about your business than these two individuals.
The Bond Between a Business and its CPA
Whether you recognize it or not, you have a special bond with your CPA.
Even if they merely do your tax work, on a yearly basis your CPA gets an intimate look at your company financials.
Unless you are a publicly traded company, chances are there are few people even within your organization that knows so much about your business and likely about you (S-Corp and LLC Business Owners).
While this intimate knowledge of your business may feel like a small invasion of privacy, in actuality it serves as a window for a highly skilled professional to better understand your business.
A Financial Professional, Different than a Banker
What does your relationship look like with your bank?
Is it healthy? Perhaps distant or indifferent?
As a business owner who has insight into so many businesses, I often see banks loaning millions of dollars to businesses where they have only a basic understanding of what those businesses do.
This is because in the banking industry, it is standard practice that several key financial ratios serve as the vast majority in determining your borrowing power.
While this works out very well for sound businesses, it can make borrowing nearly impossible for a company that has had a rough period where their financials have suffered.
Imagine if the bank was willing and/or able to get to know just a little more about your business? What would they see beyond just the numbers that would help them make a more informed decision? (There are some great banks out there that do just this, but definitely not always)
A strong CPA understands what financial partners seek and can provide you sound guidance as you seek to expand your banking relationsip.
Linking Financial Capacity and Your CPA
A CPA’s knowledge of your business allows us to better help your business in other capacities.
Whether helping you to understand the value of your business or checking up on your ongoing financial accounting to make sure profit is being maximized, who is better fit than your CPA to do so.
Even companies with strong financial leadership and internal controls can benefit from an outside view.
Your CPA should understand your business well, and if that is indeed the case they can have a meaningful arms-length view that can drive improved bottom line performance by recognizing profit opportunities sooner.
Further your CPA can help you to better manage your cash flow, creating accurate budgets (an art in itself), or protect you from fraud or internal loss which is often caught far too late.
Understanding “What More” your CPA Can Do
If you ask your accountant about his or her marketing prowess, they will likely be the first to tell you that they missed that day in college.
Marketing and Sales isn’t a strength, but there is something to be said for that.
As CPA’s we see ourselves as trusted advisors. We don’t strive to sell you anything. We become better when we help make your business better.
And if that isn’t the type of relationship you have with your CPA, perhaps you should work towards it or find a new one.
A good CPA firm can help you with so much more and while it is on us to communicate what more we can do, we also advise business owners to ask for the help they need.
If you aren’t sure, then we should get together and talk about it.
In the end we are all moving toward the same goal. So let me ask you…
How can we help?
Jeff Bronswick is the Managing Partner of Bronswick Reicin & Pollack (BRP-CPAs). BRP has served business and individual clients accounting and advisory needs in the Chicagoland area for nearly 50 years.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this Blog (the “Blog”) is intended solely to provide general guidance on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. In no event will BRP, or its partners, employees or agents, be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information in this Blog or for any consequential, special or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.